NRL Tips expert Steve Green takes a look back at a blistering first month from his pre-season pick, the St George Illawarra Dragons
The pre-season preview I provided a couple weeks before Round 1 kick off was pretty much focused entirely on just how underrated the St George Illawarra Dragons were heading into the 2018 season.
With the acquisitions of Hunt and Graham, I thought Paul McGregor had assembled a squad that was good as any other squad in the NRL. I said that I could not recall a time where I thought a team had been so underrated by the market.
- 2 Units on Dragons to make the Top 4 at 4.50 (William Hill, Sportsbet).
UPDATE: The Dragons are now paying 1.85 to make the top 4 at Sportsbet.
- 1 Unit on Dragons to be leading at Half Way point (after Round 12) at 21.00 (Neds).
UPDATE: The Dragons are now favourite and paying 3.75 in this market.
- 1 Unit on Dragons to be Premiers at 21.00 (Bet365).
UPDATE: The Dragons are now paying 6.5 at Bet365 to win the Premiership, equal 2nd favourites.
- 1 Unit on Gareth Widdop to be Top Point Scorer at 12.00 (NSW TAB).
UPDATE: He is now paying 2.25 and is outright favourite at NSW TAB.
We could not have asked for a better start to the season (well maybe a couple of tries to Widdop, but that is me being greedy!).
The Dragons have quickly established themselves as the form team in the NRL, with Hunt and Widdop gelling quicker than even I predicted they would. Their forward pack is as dominant as I predicted and their outside backs are improving every weekend, with Dufty playing sensational footy in the opening month.
Statistically, the Dragons are doing everything right. They are in the top 3 for run metres, tries scored, line breaks, tackle breaks, line breaks conceded, tries conceded, missed tackles. The only team that comes close to them on form are the Warriors, who remain unbeaten.
However, it is far too early to start gloating and we have a long way to go to win any of our Dragon’s bets. For example, to be leading at the half way mark, the Dragons will have to overcome Souths this weekend and then again in a month or so (I have Souths in the top 5 teams on form right now), the Warriors in NZ (who I have as 2nd on form) and the Storm, Sharks and Roosters, who most people had in their top 8 at the start of the season.
So, what I am saying is that the hard work is still in front of us and the Dragons will have to maintain their current attitude and stellar form if they are going to be deliver us some solid profits.
What is interesting is just how poorly some of the Premiership favourites are currently playing. The Storm, Roosters and Cowboys are all in a real form slump. While I understand why the bookies are keeping them at short odds, I think that the 2018 competition is a lot more even than the market is currently predicting. Except for the Eels, who are in a real hole, anyone could beat anyone on their given day at present.
Special mention has to be made of the Widdop top point scorer bet! This is one where anything can happen and to be honest, the 2.25 being offered on Widdop now is far too short! He could get injured, or the Dragons form could slump, or someone like Croker or Cherry-Evans could go on a point scoring rampage.
So while I thought the 12.00 on offer pre-season was sensational, I would not be going near the 2.25 price that is now being offered to punters.
All in all, things are looking very good and I hope you are enjoying cheering every single Dragons point as much as I have been!
With more than 20 weeks of the regular season still remaining, there’s still time to start your journey to profitable punting on the footy right now!
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